My friend Kristi gave me this journal for Christmas, with inspiring quotes handwritten inside. Quotes to encourage me to stay on my path... to keep showing up.
Kristi had a hard year. First, she lost her big sister, someone who always had her back. Then, she lost her dad.
Running parallel to this personal loss, Kristi says that professionally, she "celebrated the best year of her life". She was named an Apple Distinguished Educator and flew all over the country sharing her knowledge about early childhood literacy and how she uses technology as a tool. Her "I Teach With iPads" blog has become a go-to for educators wanting to mirror the success she's having in her kindergarten classroom.
Despite all of this recognition, which can be a rare thing for those in the teaching profession, Kristi quietly slipped into autopilot. Doing what she knows how to do so well, it became routine.
"Someone asked me what I liked to do and I had trouble answering that. Nothing immediately came to mind. I realized I hadn't thought about me in a really, really long time."
Then, a couple of months ago, she did something different. She bought what she describes as a "big girl camera" and decided she'd learn how to use it. She started a photoblog to hold herself accountable to this brand new journey. "I've taken numerous photo walks all over the city. I usually go alone. I've never been someone who does anything alone but this felt right...and necessary."
"When I am taking photos, it's about my eye, what I see, what I like. It isn't for anyone else in that moment. It's exhilarating."
She says she's finding beauty in so many things she had previously passed by without a second glance.
I think Kristi's story sends an important message about how we can influence others in a positive way... even when we're doing something just for us. Just because we like it. We don't have to be an expert. We don't have to wait until we have more experience to have a voice. Maybe it's enough to make room for what lights us up, become students in our own lives and share what we are learning.